The Decorations of the Third Reich include a variety of service awards that were presented to the Armed Forces. Though strictly civilian awards are not covered in this site, some of the awards that were presented to members of the Military were also presented, often in a different grade, to civilian auxiliary forces.
The Cross of Honor 1914-1918 was the first one of the series. Created shortly after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, it was instituted as the only official commemorative medal that recognized service during World War I. In 1936, knowing that Military seniority need to be recognized, the Long Service Awards of the Wehrmacht were authorized. This series of awards distinguished those who in concordance with Prussian tradition made the Military a career, and not a service obligation.
The annexations of Austria, Czechoslovakia and the Memel district before World War II prompted a series of medals which are review in that section. The West Wall Medal was presented to those who helped fortify the German frontiers both prior to and during the final stages of World War II and in 1944, the “Blue Division Medal” was created for those Spanish volunteers who fought as members of the Wehrmacht on the Eastern front. These awards are covered in detail in their sections below.
U.S. Soldiers penetrating the impressive,
but ultimately unsuccessful, Sigfried line
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